Hot off the heels of Carli Lloyd announcing that she’s retiring from the USWNT and professional soccer, her longtime teammate Megan Rapinoe was faced with a question about her own future during an interview on ESPN’s “Spain and Fitz” podcast Monday.
While Lloyd is ready to move onto life after soccer after winning a bronze medal with the USWNT at the Tokyo Olympics, Rapinoe isn’t sure where she stands yet.
“Just in terms of my whole career, I don’t really know yet. I need to take a little to think about it,” Rapinoe said. “They always say, ‘You’ll know when you know,’ but it’s not really like that, because you could kind of keep going, and it’s like ‘Aw yeah, you’ve accomplished so much, you’ll be fine stepping away.’ But the conversation is always anguished in your mind. Or people just don’t think about it. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.”
While she’s not sure about her larger future, like returning for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, Rapinoe did say that she’s returning to train with her pro team, the OL Reign, this week.
Lloyd’s retirement led to the question about Rapinoe’s future, but Rapinoe also heaped praise on Lloyd’s incredible career, giving special notice to her longevity.
“I feel like people just think play as long as you can and that’s amazing — you want to play forever — but it’s actually like, no, it is really hard to do that,” Rapinoe said of Lloyd. “There are so few athletes who play to her age or play as long as she has. It’s not just about staying healthy and being able to physically be there, which is difficult in and of itself.
“It’s about continually growing and making sure your game is evolving. For me, it’s the fact she ended her career with an incredible brace in a medal match at the Olympics — just says it all. That’s the sort of person Carli was. As productive as ever.”
While Rapinoe is just 36, three years younger than Lloyd, she’s undoubtedly speaking with some experience as one of the older members of the USWNT. Rapinoe can’t fight back the end of her USWNT career forever — she will eventually have to retire — but with Lloyd as an example, she may decide she wants to empty the tank and play as long as she possibly can.